Getting the most from your health plan is important to many seniors but it is not always easy to navigate your way through all of the benefit plans and options. Your plan choices may vary depending on the county in which you live, the medical conditions you have, and your financial status.
It is important to review your benefits each year between October 15th and Dec 7th. Unless there is a special exception, this is the time you can enroll, disenroll or change your plan.
What Do I Need to Know About Medicare?
Medicare is a sophisticated system, but maneuvering your way through the maze is the tricky part.
Medicare has several parts:
• Part A (hospital)
• Part B (physician & out-patient services)
• Part C (Medicare Advantage Plan)
• Part D (prescription drug coverage)
At age 65, most people enroll in Medicare Part A & Medicare Part B. Medicare only covers about 80% of Part B expenses. You are responsible for the other 20%.
When you opt to enroll in Medicare Part C (Medicare Advantage Plan), it combines Part A, Part B and sometimes Part D coverage. This is similar to PPO & HMO plans, which have co-pays or deductibles instead of the 20% balance that Medicare does not cover. The benefits depend upon the policy you select.
What is Medicare open enrollment?
The annual Medicare Open Enrollment period has started (on October 15) and continues until December 7.
For 2019 coverage, open enrollment will run from October 15, 2018, to December 7, 2018.
During the annual enrollment period (AEP) you can make changes to various aspects of your coverage.
You can switch from Original Medicare to Medicare Advantage, or vice versa.
You can also switch from one Medicare Advantage plan to another, or from one Medicare Part D (prescription drug) plan to another.
And if you didn’t enroll in a Medical Part D plan when you were first eligible, you can do so during the general open enrollment, although a late enrollment penalty may apply.
If you want to enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan, you must meet some basic criteria.
You must be enrolled in Medicare Part A and B.
You must live in the plan’s service area.
You cannot have End-Stage Renal Disease (some exception apply).
Is auto renewal available?
If you’re enrolled in a Medicare Part D prescription plan or a Medicare Advantage Plan and you don’t want to make changes to your coverage for the coming year, you don’t need to do anything during open enrollment, assuming your current plan will continue to be available. If your plan is being discontinued and isn’t eligible for renewal, you will receive a non-renewal notice from your carrier prior to open enrollment. If you don’t, it means you can keep your plan without doing anything during open enrollment.
But be aware that your benefits and premium could change from one year to the next. So even if you’re confident that you want to keep your current coverage for the following year, it’s important to make sure you understand any changes that your current plan is still the best available option. The available plans and what they cover changes from one year to the next, so even if the plan you have now was the best option when you shopped last year, it’s important to verify that again before you lock yourself in for another year.
Having an experienced agency guide you through this intricate process is ideal so that you and your family are certain not to be left without coverage.
Because this is the season for open enrollment, it’s critical to review your plan and to seek help if you’re considering making changes to an existing plan. Joanne Foley offers free consultations to help you prepare to make these decisions.
Joanne Foley Insurance is dedicated to assisting the senior population with their insurance needs. With Joanne’s experience, seniors rely on her guidance to find the most comprehensive, suitable yet affordable coverage for their specific needs.
To find out more, please call Joanne Foley Insurance to arrange a no obligation explanation of these Medicare choices. They represent a carefully selected group of financially sound and reputable insurance companies to offer you the best service possible and most comprehensive coverage at competitive prices. They do more than sell insurance; Joanne Foley Insurance provides peace of mind.
For more information on Joanne Foley Insurance and how they can partner with you to get you on the right track, please call (845) 494-3414, or visit their website at JoanneFoleyinsurance.com.
400 North A1A Unit 115, Jupiter, FL 33477